It’s ninety-five degrees and humid. You know what they say, it's not the heat, it's the Hell of your children at home with no activities. You don’t have a pool and your friends who do are at their summer homes, where you haven’t been invited.
Today’s long awaited and much needed trip to the beach is brought to you by your children.
Mommy! It’s time to leave for the beach! Are you ready? Hopefully you can get me fed, dressed, the cooler, tote bag and wagon packed with all my gear, and drive there in the ninety-minute interval between my eating, pooping, and napping needs. Ok mommy? You don’t need to shower or eat before we go, do you? They have food there and your “swimming” will be limited to the shallow tide pools anyway, which we both know are 45% saltwater and 55% toddler urine. Don’t forget my sixteen plastic pails, and a second full SPF bodysuit in case I have an accident in the Elsa one! In fact, I have to go potty. Oh! The parking lot is full. Is there another beach we can go to? Why are you crying, Mommy?
Don’t mind me, the 16-month old gorging on sand and discarded tin foil here as you attempt to set up the 18x20 ‘sun protection tent.’ You duly coated me in SPF 3000, but now, you may notice, I’m rubbing my eyes vigorously and guess what? You’ll have to guess which is more excruciating, the sand or the sunscreen now burning my retinas. And the elastic tie on my adorable sunhat is choking me, BTW. What were you thinking bringing me here? My swimper needs changing, when you get a chance.
Greetings from your five-year-old, somewhere in the sand 500 terrifying yards away, with dozens of potential pedophiles and kidnappers occupying the vast and sweltering territory between us. You haven’t seen me for about thirty-seven seconds because you were indulging in the self care of applying sunscreen to your wanting cleavage. Harlot! You’ll eventually find me, with the help of some haughty grandmotherly types wearing voluminous skirt bathing suits and judgmental scowls.
Mom! Mom! Hey Mom! Mom! It’s your eight-year-old. Want to play catch? Can I get a corn dog? Why not? Why? Let’s use the boogie board. Can I have my dessert now? Can I wade out to the sign that says, “NO SWIMMING, DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS”? Did you download the shark finder app? Mom! Mom! Let’s go in the water. Where’s the bathroom? Did you bring my bow and arrow? Can we buy some Skittles? Can I see your phone, just for a sec? Mom. Why does your stomach look like that? What happened to it? Mom? What’s that lifeguard doing? Look there’s an ice cream truck in the parking lot, where we just came from! Can I go? Can I? Mom?
Why do I have to help carry everything? Why can't he carry anything? I carried stuff when I was four. Yeah, I’m twelve and I’m rocking my Vineyard Vines Tee and Riptide board shorts. I’m not eating that lunch you lovingly packed, I’d rather scope out the snack bar. Yes with your money. Can I use your headphones? So I can look at videos on my phone. No I don’t know where mine are. Yes, people watch videos at the beach. What a stupid question. Where's my T-shirt/ball/sunglasses/towel/hat/childhood innocence? I thought you packed it.
What do you mean “where was I?” It’s the beach. Mom. I was in the ocean. I’m fourteen, I don’t think you have to worry about “where I am,” Mom. Seriously. What girls? Mom, please.
(Texted, from your sixteen-year old): What time can you pick us up from the beach? Oh…you’re coming too?
(Texted, from your seventeen-year old): No, I have plans. Yes, I told you. Yes, I need the car, Why does it matter with who? Fine. Whatever. I'll just stay home alone then.
(via cell phone, from God-knows-where, from your nineteen-year old): What time will you and Mrs. Snelson be back from the beach?..... No reason. Why are you crying, Mom?